Are Gamers Giving Up? Study Shows Fewer People Playing, Buying Video Games
A new study reveals that the number of people playing video games in the United States has dipped since last year.
According to market analyst firm NPD Group, about 212 million Americans say they currently play video games. That represents about two in every three residents of the United States. And while that’s a substantial number, the 212 million represents a five per cent drop from last year.
That means about 1 in 20, or approximately 12 million Americans, stopped playing video games this past year.
Furthermore, the study found that people spent less money on video games in July 2012, the eighth straight month that’s been reported. In terms of sales, video games, consoles, and accessories are down 20 per cent from a year ago.
NPD Group’s study didn’t investigate what might have caused people to hang up their controllers, but there are several possible explanations for the findings. For one, it’s now been almost six years since the release of a mainstream video game console (both the Nintendo Wii and the Sony PlayStation 3 shipped in late 2006).
If consumers are growing tired of their existing systems, including the Wii, PS3, and Microsoft Xbox 360, then that’s great news for the companies that produce video game hardware. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all appear poised to release new consoles in the coming twelve to eighteen months.
However, if the decline in the popularity of video games is due to other factors, such as a lingering economic recession, then the release of new and very expensive platforms is unlikely to solve the problem.
The NPD study did reveal that more people are playing games on their tablets and smartphones than ever before, representing a major shift in the video game industry. That could also spell trouble for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, who currently have little to no presence in these markets.